News Alerts

20 Nov 2018 | 11:55 PM UTC

Cameroon: Gunmen abduct 20 students in Southwest region Nov. 20 /update 3

Cameroon News Alert

Unidentified gunmen abduct 20 students from a bilingual school in Kumba (Southwest region) on November 20

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/20/2018, 12:00 AM until 12/4/2018, 11:59 PM (Africa/Douala). COUNTRY/REGION Cameroon

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Event

A group of unidentified gunmen reportedly kidnapped 20 students from a bilingual school in Kumba (Southwest region) on the morning (local time) of Tuesday, November 20. According to local media sources, the school’s principal was also among the victims. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings as of November 20, although Anglophone separatists have been accused of similar incidents in recent months. Security forces have reportedly launch an investigation into the abductions. Further such incidents are possible in the near-term as tensions between Anglophone separatists and the government become increasingly volatile.

Context

Around 80 students were abducted by suspected Anglophone separatists in Bamenda (Northwest region) on October 31 and November 4. All of the victims were later released by mid-November.

Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities are high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement. The period since November 2016 has been marked by the closure of English-speaking schools, strikes, unrest, and violence. These tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee over the border into Nigeria.

Separatists have called for a boycott of all schools in the two regions since the beginning of the conflict.

Advice

Individuals in Northwest and Southwest regions are advised to closely monitor the situation, follow all instructions issued by the local authorities (particularly curfews), and avoid protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence.

 

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